CDC issues new guildelines for concussions
For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidelines for diagnosing and treating children who have suffered a concussion.
The guidelines summarize thousands of studies performed over the past 25 years. It creates recommendations for assessing brain function and when a child should be referred to a specialist.
"It gives us structure, said neurosurgeon Dr. Ed Benzel with the Cleveland Clinic. “We didn't have structure before and now we do and everybody should now be on the same page, that ranging from a football team trainer, to a parent, to even the student or the injured person."
The CDC reports in 2009, nearly 250,000 kids under the age of 19 were treated in emergency rooms across America for sports-related injuries resulting in a concussion or traumatic brain injury diagnosis.
There are guidelines for adult concussions, but it can be especially important for young minds, as the brains of kids are more fragile and still learning.
In 2011, Kansas lawmakers signed the School Sports Head Injury prevention act. It asks that the state board of education compile information on the risks of head injuries and sports. According to KSHAA rules, if a student is hurt and a head injury is suspected, they are not allowed to pay or practice until cleared by a medical professional.
With the new guidelines, it will help prevent and potentially ease any long-term brain damage, Benzel said.
"It’s going to increase and further heighten our awareness regarding potential injuries and how to manage them and how to prevent them, and how to, and making sure that kids don't return to play too soon and incur another injury which is much more severe."